What’s new in back-to-school tech gadgets
With the new school year comes a long lineup of tech devices that are filling the shopping basket. Here are some of them.
It’s late August, when thoughts of summer vacation turn to back-to-school supplies; and when it comes to school, both digital and wireless rule.
Before you fill up your in-store and online shopping carts, take a look at some of the newest gadgets students will be using this year.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive:This backup drive lets you breathe easy by protecting your entire digital life with one click, yet it is thin and small enough to take with you when you’re on the go. The drive comes in three capacities — 500GB, 1 terabyte and 2 terabytes, all less than 1/2-inch thick — and four colors (blue, black, red and silver). From $65.
Otterbox NFL Edition Defender Case: Score a touchdown with this rugged case for your cellphone that will protect it from drops, scrapes, fumbles and heavy use. Cases have a built-in screen protector and are emblazoned with the licensed logo of your favorite NFL team. $65.
Epson Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printer:The small footprint of this printer-copier-scanner is perfect when you don’t have a lot of space. And because it has wireless capability, you can print directly from your smartphone or tablet. $100.
Satechi Spectrum Mouse: Before you turn it on, the Spectrum appears to be just a shiny, chrome-colored mouse. Hit the “on” switch and it begins its color cycle, changing to seven different hues — violet, blue, white, yellow, green, red and turquoise — of LED illumination. You can lock in a color. $30.
Pyle Audio Erasable Illuminated LED Writing Board: This board uses markers filled with liquid chalk in fluorescent colors, and it lights up your writing and pictures after you’re done. You can even change the color of the light or get flashing strobe effects. The board has an acrylic panel and can be erased by wiping it with a damp or dry clean, soft cloth. From $81.
Sparkup Magical Book Reader:This device enables parents to create personalized audio recordings of illustrated children’s books so children can listen to or read along with them. Sparkup attaches to the top of a book and records the user’s voice while tracking each page via its built-in camera. Afterward, when the device is reattached to the book, the camera recognizes the book’s images and plays the appropriate recording for each page. $60.
iHome IBN97 Bluetooth Stereo FM Clock Radio: Wake up to the music you like, whether it’s on an iPhone, iPad, Android or BlackBerry device. The IBN97 has near-field communication technology, which allows you to wirelessly stream digital audio from your preferred gadget via Bluetooth. You can also take calls with its wireless speakerphone. $100.
Ventev the Powercell 6000+: This portable and pluggable gadget is a battery for when you’re on the go. It delivers up to 25 hours of talk time, 18 hours of Internet, 20 hours of video playback or 100 hours of audio playback — and a wall charger when you’re staying in. $75.
Master Lock 1500EXD Dialspeed Digital Combination Padlock: This lock has an electronic directional interface so texting thumbs should find it easy to remember a sequence of up, down or sideways button presses to spring the lock. The lock comes with a resettable primary code and an option for three additional guest codes. $40.
Whoosh! Screen Shine: Grime that you transfer from your fingers to your touchscreens can be removed before you miss school days because of illness. Nontoxic, odorless, ammonia- and alcohol-free Whoosh is an eco-friendly screen-cleaning solution that removes dust, dirt, makeup, skin oils and fingerprints. The manufacturer says it is guaranteed to be safe for every device screen. From $6.
Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe Infinity: The globe part of this gadget might seem old-school until you turn on its smart pen and touch it anywhere in the world to learn facts and comparisons. Designed for ages 5 and older, the globe can be updated online to keep it current. The wireless, talking smart pen can also record notes with its built-in recorder. Includes a small sheet map of the United States. $100, accessory globes $40 each; begins shipping Sept. 15.
LeapFrog LeapPad Learning Tablet: So what’s new about LeapPad Gen 3? The biggest news is that it is Wi-Fi enabled. Combine that with LeapSearch powered by Zui, and children can explore prescreened kid-friendly Web content that has been approved by learning experts. Wi-Fi also allows for peer-to-peer gaming and access to LeapFrog’s Learning Library of more than 1,000 educator-approved games, apps, eBooks, videos and music tracks. $100.
Livescribe 3 Smartpen: This latest iteration of Livescribe’s Smartpen is designed to work simultaneously with a compatible Apple device and the Livescribe+ app. After pairing the two via Bluetooth, notes written or pictures drawn in Livescribe’s notebook automatically appear on the app on your iOS device. The notebook’s special paper is printed with a fine dot pattern to let the pen know where it is on the page. By tapping on the microphone on the app, you can record audio that’s synchronized with your written notes. $150.